Promoting Jewish medical awareness in Hunterdon County

Posted Monday, Oct 7th, 2013
Hunterdon County Democrat -

Chabad of Hunterdon County and its Jewish Learning Institute will present Life in the Balance: Jewish Perspectives on Everyday Medical Dilemmas, the institute’s new six-session Fall 2013 course that will begin Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Rabbi Eli Kornfeld will be conducting the course along with presentations by national medical experts by Dr. Gary Shangold, Dr. Stephen Victor and Dr. Lloyd Haskell as well as a legal presentation by Mark Chazin from Gephardt and Kiefer. The six-course sessions at 7:30 p.m., will be on six consecutive Tuesdays at the Chabad Jewish Center 90 Beaver Ave. in Clinton.

The first lesson “An Ounce of Prevention: BRCA, Genetic Testing, and Preventive Measures” will explore the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations that are linked to extremely high risks of breast and ovarian cancers. Are we obligated to undergo genetic testing for early detection and higher survival rates? This lesson explores the question many women face on these vital health topics and provides insights from the Jewish perspective on preventive medicine and public health.

This lesson will be open to the general public, free of charge; it coincides with breast cancer awareness month. It aims to raise awareness about the importance of this health matter and potentially saving lives.

“Nowadays, at some point or another, everyone faces an extremely difficult medical decision that they aren’t equipped to handle.” said Rabbi Eli Kornfeld, Director of Chabad. “Our objective with this course is to acquaint the public with fascinating Jewish perspectives on some of the most cutting-edge dilemmas in medical ethics.”

In Life in the Balance, participants will ponder ethical questions about a range of topics ranging from preventive measures to end of life issues and respect due to the body after death. Questions include: Must we prolong life at the expense of immense suffering? Should we legalize compensation for organs to save the lives of those on the transplant list? And where do we draw the line between keen vigilance to safeguard one’s health and pointless panic? The course will also explore ethical ramifications of fascinating new technologies such as digital autopsies and uterine transplants.

“These important issues are critical to so many people’s lives yet they are rarely discussed nowadays.” said Dr. Gary Shangold of Tewksbury, one of the medical experts that will be presenting, “This is a unique opportunity that will benefit the wider community of Hunterdon County, and we invite everyone to attend.”

Life in the Balance is designed to appeal to people at all levels of Jewish knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning. The course is accredited to offer 30 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits for medical professionals, and approved for CLE credits for attorneys including 9 general CLE credits in New York, 10.6 general CLE credits in New Jersey, 9 credits Pennsylvania and 12 CDE credits for dentists.

All JLI courses are open to the public, and attendees need not be affiliated with a particular synagogue, temple, or other house of worship.

Interested students may call 908-238-9002 or visit for registration and other course-related information. 

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